Usually I see no reason to chime in on an issue that many other people have discussed. But, perhaps because I've just come back to China, I feel obliged to register a view for the record about destructive nuttiness in my homeland:
The pandering and ignorance-across-party-lines represented by the John McCain-Hillary Clinton united front for a temporary reduction in the gasoline tax should make Americans hold their heads in their hands and moan. No one who has thought about this issue thinks that it will actually reduce prices or -- more important -- help the the people disproportionately hurt by $100+/barrel oil and $4 gasoline. And to the extent it has any effect on America's long-term approach to energy policy, transportation, oil dependence, and climate change, the effect will be perverse.
I can imagine that John McCain, who boasts about his sketchy command of economics, might consider this a good idea. But the master of policy, Hillary Clinton??
Please. This is embarrassing. It makes me long for the good old days of debating about flag pins on the lapel. And I wonder: has there been bipartisan agreement to stupider effect in, say, the last fifty years? The US Senate's 88-2 vote in favor of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1964 doesn't count: they didn't know what lay ahead. Hillary Clinton, at least, knows why what she is saying is wrong. I will pay for a year's subscription to the Atlantic for anyone who can come up with a more foolishly destructive bipartisan example.
Update: The 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force vote that paved the way for war in Iraq doesn't count either. That vote reflected terrible judgment, in my view, but not outright stupidity or, as with the current gas-tax charade, certain foreknowledge that the policy being recommended would do no good.
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